Breast Pump Reviews

As a mother of two who has breast-fed, I’ve come to try out several different types of pumps. Over the course of 4 years I’ve become well experienced with pumps to present multiple breast pump reviews to help nursing moms make a better informed buying decision.

I’ve become so well-versed with breast-feeding that I’ve actually considered taking up lactation counseling as a career choice. Perhaps one day, who knows. In the meantime I’ve helped several friends from my experiences and plan to share those with you. I had a very different breast-feeding experience with each of my children, which has lead to much trial and error with pumps.

My Favorite Breast Pump

Ameda

Ameda Elite

Ameda Elite Electric Breast Pump
Let me start off with the pump that I initially used for our first child shortly after she was born. My daughter was born prematurely and had to be rushed to the NICU right after she was born. The hospital brought me this Ameda hospital-grade pump which they use for mothers wanting to breast-feed. Because I couldn’t nurse my baby right away I was advised on using the hospital’s pump because it’s more powerful and works similarly to baby’s suckling actions to help bring my milk in. I loved it instantly. I actually had to rent it for the two weeks she stayed in the NICU until we brought her home and I was quite sad to let it go, but buying one at just under $1,000 was not an option for us.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Powerful
  • Efficient

Cons

  • Cost
  • Bulky

First of all – this thing is very quiet. It makes much less noise than the current pump I have which is great if you’re going to be pumping in the same room as your baby while they’re sleeping or around others at work. And the nurse was right, the hospital pump certainly was effective. I could adjust the cycle speed and the level of suction to my personal preference for comfort.

The pump does just what a double electric pump should and beautifully; it expresses milk in a short amount of time. Once my supply had fully come in, I was pumping approximately 5 ounces in just 10 minutes and that was just two weeks postpartum. It also has a long 9ft cord to allow for a little more flexibility. In addition, there’s a section to wrap the cord around when it’s not in use which helps to prevent a tripping hazard.

The only major downfall that kept me from owning one of these was the cost. As with any hospital grade pump, they cost considerably more than a personal pump. You have the option of renting one, but if you’re going to be breast-feeding for baby’s first year or longer you’ll quickly end up paying much more than just buying one out right. Amazon has a fair price on theirs compared to the Medela Symphony which is well over $1,000. You just have to buy the pumping accessories separately.

This pump is also not very convenient in terms of portability. It is a great deal larger and bulky compared to some of the more compact designs of personal breast pumps. The description says it’s lightweight, but in actually it does have a little weight to it.  Ironically, Ameda’s manual pump (which I have also used and really liked) is one of the smallest designs yet.

What Others Have Said:
I always like to give unbiased perspective of my reviews so here are a few that others have said about the pump. These have been paraphrased for your convenience and you can read the entire reviews here.

I love my pump. I started using it 3 days postpartum and now at 5 weeks have over 400 ounces of milk stored.”
“This pump is quiet and has the power that other pumps don’t.”
“We tried few pumps parallel and either quality is low or takes a lot of time to get the same amount of milk. Highly recommend.

Final Thoughts– If you can swing the cost I say go for it. If you are committed to providing breast-milk for your baby for at least a year or longer then the cost would certainly be worth it. It’s not entirely travel-friendly but if you will be returning to work and need a good quality pump that works efficiently then I would say it’s worth it’s weight.

My LEAST Favorite Breast Pump

Lansinoh

Lansinoh Affinity

Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump
After we returned home with our daughter I initially used the Ameda Manual pump that the hospital gave me with the kit in between feedings. However, due to her prematurity which led to her needing a feeding tube in the NICU, she had difficulties latching on. I really needed a double electric pump that was more efficient for supplementing nursing with a bottle as she wasn’t eating enough.

Pros

  • Small design
  • Battery or electric operated
  • Dual controls

Cons

  • Not very durable
  • Makes annoying beeping sound when running
  • Died out less than a year of use

This isn’t a completely terrible pump and I did use it for the few months I was able to breast-feed my daughter. I liked the compact design that made taking it on trips a little easier. It can run as an electric pump or it takes AA batteries which makes it easy for transporting. The breast shield kit also features a closed system that prevents milk from backing up in tubing for more hygienic pumping.

The problems I had with this machine are with durability overall. You can control the amount of suction and the speed of the machine for your personal comfort. I used it at the highest levels which was still comfortable for me, but the whole unit started shaking slightly from the motor inside. This isn’t a major problem as long as you make sure the unit isn’t placed too close to the edge of the surface it is on because it will gradually move causing it to fall off the table.

AmedaAnother issue is that the little white valves that the milk passes through from the shield to the bottles can tear easily. Fortunately I had some spare ones, but the flaps are made of really super thin material that can easily tear after much use which will hinder the vacuum performance.

What Others Have Said:
Just because I didn’t have a great experience doesn’t mean others haven’t benefited from it. You can read the full reviews here.

This pump is easy to clean and more hygienic than other pumps.”
“It worked fine the first time I used it then it mysteriously lost suction power.”
“Just OK for the money but doesn’t compare with Medela.”

Final Thoughts – I had only used this pump for a couple of months with our first child and then my milk supply just depleted. I can’t say if this was a result of a poor quality pump or because I wasn’t able to nurse exclusively. I removed the batteries and put the unit up then took it out again to use when our son was born. It worked for a couple of weeks then died completely. Overall I would NOT recommend this pump.

My Personal Recommendation

Medela

Medela Pump In Style Advanced

After my last pump went out I was fed up. It was a decent pump while it lasted but I didn’t want to run into the same problem. I had considered buying an Ameda Purely Yours after loving the hospital grade pump, but after doing some careful research first it didn’t have the high ratings as Medela Pump In Style. I knew I needed a good quality pump that lasts and knowing Medela is a reputable brand and a top selling pump I bought one.

Pros

  • Convenient
  • Effective
  • Discreet portability

Cons

  • Loud
  • No built-in stand for bottles

One of the reasons I really liked the pump is because it is built into the bag so when you’re not using it all you have to do is zip up the front compartment. This is especially useful with other children around to keep them from playing with the controls on it. The bag also makes it easier to carry into other areas of the house (for instance if you need to move it to the bedroom to pump while you’re having company over.)

Like all of Medela’s electric pumps, it features a dual-phase technology that is fast at first to stimulate let-down and then it automatically switches to expression mode for effectively withdrawing milk. With the Lansinoh pump I had to do this manually iwth the controls. You can also adjust it to a single pump if you just need to pump one side. When you’re ready to go you can just pack up all of your essentials in the tote.

One factor I found undesirable is how loud it is when you’re pumping. If you’re pumping at work, it’s hard to be discreet where the walls are thin. Although, most people knew I was going pump anyway so that really didn’t make a difference to me. I do miss the built-in stand, however, for the bottles like the Lansinoh and Ameda pumps. Medela does have a stand you can purchase separately to place the bottles in but it doesn’t look very sturdy.

What Others Have Said:
These reviews have been paraphrased for your convenience. Read the full reviews here.

“This pump is well worth the money especially if you are planning to pump for several months several times a day.”
“After washing, a little condensation got in the lines but I ran it with the lines unconnected and they cleared just fine.”
“I have a lot of personal and professional experience with breast pumps, the Pump in Style is my favorite.”

I forgot to mention that the tubing that comes with the Medela pumps are very stiff and there is a possibility for milk to back up which can lead to mold. Medela has recommendations if this happens, but I never had this issue because I preferred using the kit that I received in the hospital from the Ameda pump. If you need to buy different sized breast flanges for any reason I recommend getting the  Dual HygieniKit Milk Collection Kit which was compatible with each of the electric pumps mentioned here.

Final Thoughts – This would be my preferred choice  for a personal double electric pump. If you want a good quality pump that you plan on getting a lot of use out of, use for at home and on the go a lot, and realistically priced this would be the one I’d recommend.

The Ameda hospital grade was my personal favorite, however the price isn’t very practical for many new moms. Medela is much cheaper, and though it does cost a little more than some of the other choices, based on my breast pump reviews it’s worth the investment. When you factor that it comes with the tote, the battery pack and a separate cooler with a freezer pack, it’s a pretty decent value. Also, the only pumps that are recommended for multiple users are those that are hospital grade so I would not advise borrowing a hand-me down unless it’s a unit that has a closed system.

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